Browsing Culture

1 June, 2017 | Culture, Helix People, Recognition

Helix Employees Celebrate 5 Years with the Firm

We’re pleased to share three Helix employees are celebrating their five-year anniversary with the firm. In that group, you’ll find our resource librarian, Marcie Miller Gross; interior designer, Erin Stork; and our office concierge, Nina Grimes.

To thank them for their service and mark the milestone, they received a $1,000 voucher to be used for travel of their choice. These are given to team members for every five years of service. We capped off the festivities with a new tradition –  a celebratory lunch.

Thank you to Marcie, Erin and Nina, for your contributions, dedication and friendship. Helix greatly benefits from the gifts and talents each of you bring.


9 February, 2017 | Culture, Helix People

Celebrating 25 years: A Love Letter to Kansas City

Helix 25h Anniversary PartyThank you, Kansas City.

Twenty-five years ago we were a bunch of young buck architects that optimistically saw opportunity where there were dilapidated buildings and empty parking lots. We took a risk, left our jobs and struck out on our own. We opened up shop at 9th + Baltimore, moved to 10th + Broadway and eventually landed at 16th + Walnut – where we are today. We hoped that there were others that shared our passion for revitalizing our city. At least enough to help keep our lights on.

You have delivered.

What you have become, what we have been able to be a part of over these last 25 years is inspiring.

When we talk about our city’s entrepreneurial story, this is it. It’s not all fast-growth tech startups (although they are terrific). It is small businesses coming together each day to support one another. It is the support of extraordinary clients and committed partners. And it is an ecosystem of programs (like HEMP) that nurture the passion to build something great and provide the framework for success.

Thanks to you we have been a part of something meaningful. Great work. Our life’s work. We have been able to restore some of the city’s greatest architectural treasures and add new life to the streetscapes we walk each day.

Your investment, your commitment makes our work possible. Because of you, we get to spend our days doing what we love. And at the end of the day, isn’t that what we all are striving for?

And while one can’t help but reflect when crossing any major milestone, our attention is focused on the next 25 years. Not only what is next for our firm, but also our industry and most importantly, for you – our city. How do we steer Kansas City’s growth in the right direction and create spaces that we will be proud of 25 years from now? How do we create places that will attract talent so that we can continue to grow as a city?

These are the questions that drive us and our work each day.

As we look towards the next 25 years, we remain committed to the principles and passion we were founded on – advancing our community through great design and civic engagement, maintaining exceptional quality in all that we do, supporting the arts, preserving our historic structures, and most of all placing the human experience at the center of everything we do.

We look around at the young talent that fills our office, the new energy they bring and fresh perspective on what this city can continue to become. They bring dreams and ideas beyond what we could have imagined 25 years ago. They challenge us. They inspire us. And we are proud to work side by side with them to design and dream and build our city for the next 25 years.

So thank you, Kansas City. We are proud to be part of your story and hope you are proud to be part of ours.

Fondly,
Helix


29 July, 2016 | Academic, Art, Culture, Hospitality, Renovation

Designing Spaces that Nurture the Arts: Renovation of the Olson Performing Arts Center for the KCRep & UMKC

There is a reason that Kansas City consistently ranks among the top cities in the country for the arts; as a city, we invest in the people and places that are nurturing creative talent. At Helix, we are proud that we have been able to work with some of the city’s top arts and cultural organizations to create spaces that inspire, serve and engage patrons and artists alike.

Helix, KC Rep, Kansas City MORecently, this includes the $6.5 million renovation and expansion of the James C. Olson Performing Arts Center for the Kansas City Repertory Theatre and the University of Missouri – Kansas City (UMKC). Located on the UMKC campus, the newly renovated building gives both organizations a home that showcases the talented artists that it serves.

“We’ve really made it into one of the most beautiful (regional) theaters, from what had been a really dated 1979 building,” Eric Rosen, the Kansas City Rep’s artistic director shared with KCUR at the building’s ribbon cutting. “Now we have a building that matches the quality and caliber of of the national work that we put on our stage here at Spencer.”

Helix, KC Rep, Kansas City MO

The Helix design team placed a strong emphasis on not only technical needs for the theatre itself, but the overall patron experience. The renovation included an expansion of the lobby, substantial improvements to the Spencer Theatre performance space, an expanded patron lounge, new ADA compliant restrooms and expanded concessions.

If you haven’t been to a performance in the new space yet, here’s a sneak peak at the transformation.

Spencer Theatre Improvements at UMKCImprovements within the performance space, including a new stage, lighting, acoustics and seats, enhance the experience for both patrons and performers.

Before & After of the Olson Performing Arts Center at UMKC Lobby

The expanded lobby features a centrally located bar, a variety of seating options and additional space for patrons to socialize before shows and during intermission.

Before & After of Olson Performing Arts Center at UMKC

Exterior renovations and the expanded lobby creates a stronger identity for UMKC and the KCRep while enhancing the building’s presence on campus.

The outcome is an environment that celebrates the arts while setting the stage for an experience that is much more than just a show. We highly recommend experiencing the space yourself at an upcoming performance. The KCRep’s 2016-2017 season starts September 9 with “Evita.” UMKC’s theatre department posts their full season of shows on their website.

Photography by Michael Robinson.


New Architects | New Dads

Remember when we previously mentioned that our architects are multiplying?  We really weren’t joking!  Not only did five of our employees pass their respective licensing exams this year, but two of them were lucky enough to experience the birth of their first child. In 2015, both Mark Neibling and Jim Kersten became licensed architects and new dads. We typically use this opportunity to have a Q&A session with our newly licensed staff members, and this occasion was no exception. However, given this unique coincidence, we thought this would be a great opportunity for a game of “Who Said It? Mark vs. Jim”.  But before we quiz you, it may be best to give you a little background on each:

mark and jim

Mark Neibling :
Mr. Calm, cool and under control. We can always count on Mark to have advice on bicycles, take pictures of cranes, and be nit-picky about details. He also loves a good diagram.

Mark has spent a significant portion of his career at Helix working on the design and construction administration of the award-winning KCMO Police Headquarters. His creativity, knowledge of building materials, and meticulous care for detail has been to thank for the numerous awards and honors the project has received.

Loves: His Bicycle.

Most memorable Helix moment:
“Ushering a great project from inception to completion.

Working with a great project team; a group that could argue with each other really well.”

 

Jim Kersten :
He’s been known to introduce himself with a full-on pecha kucha. Jim can often be seen at Helix, commanding the ping-pong table in orange tennis shoes. Or at the Richard Bolling Federal Building with a hard hat and official name badge. 

At Helix, Jim has been responsible for leading construction administration for the final phases of the Federal Building renovation. His resume also includes projects such as the Bryan Cave offices and the historic renovation of the Lowe and Campbell Building.

Loves: National Parks

Most memorable Helix moment:
Probably the day the Great Seal was installed at the Federal building. That was a very complex project, but it turned out very impressive and as a bonus I learned a lot about the history of the Great Seal of the United States.” 

Mark-V-Jim-graphic-2a

YOUR SCORE:  

Your Ranking:  

 


Before our Q&A session concluded, we asked both Mark and Jim for some final, encouraging words.

Q: Any words of encouragement for other architects who are currently studying for and/or taking their AREs?
JIM:
Just take one test at a time and eventually, after many hard years, you’ll get there.
MARK: Schedule your next test before you take your current test. Get it done. Now. Life does not slow-down

Q: Any words of encouragement for new dads?
JIM: Everyone always talks about the late nights, the lack of sleep, the worrying, but taking care of a little baby is one of the most beautiful and enjoyable things I’ve ever done. I have literally enjoyed every day with my boy.
MARK: Be supportive and kind to your wife. Always.

We are always looking for a good excuse to celebrate, and this year did not disappoint. We hope you had as much fun learning about our newly licensed architects and fathers. Congratulations to you both!  

  

 


16 December, 2015 | Collaboration, Community Outreach, Culture

The Bud Prize

Award Recipients3

Every fall, Helix teams up with the UMKC Department of Architecture and Urban Planning for The Bud Prize – an annual design competition and scholarship opportunity for second year students. The scholarship was created in honor of the late Bud Persons, who was a Senior Interior Architect with Helix. The fund is intended to recognize the life and work of Bud Persons by promoting the study and knowledge of architecture and design through a scholarship grant awarded to students attending UMKC. In celebration, Helix joins the students and faculty, along with their families and friends, for a reception and award ceremony.

This year, the assignment was to design a community art center, located at Manheim & Troost in Kansas City, MO. The program required that the community center include classrooms, private studios, administrative offices, and support spaces, as well as a retail art gallery and outdoor work area. The program also challenged students to think beyond designing a space that was both pleasing and functional. Students were required to think about the context of their design as it relates to its impact in the surrounding community – much like architecture, design, and urban planning in the real world. We are excited to announce the recipients of this year’s scholarship:

First Place: Olivia Ashbrook
Second Place: Lauren Silvers
Honorable Mention: Sam Green


Congratulations to all the students for their hard work!

To read more about the winning projects, check out UMKC’s blog post about this year’s Bud Prize.
(Award Recipients pictured above from left to right: Olivia Ashbrook, Sam Green, Lauren Silvers)


18 September, 2014 | Culture, Cycling, Helix People

Helix Bikers Join the 2014 Bike MS

Continuing our company’s “Bike MS” yearly tradition, Helix bikers Mark Neibling and Sam Loring, rode this past weekend with team “Cutters” to raise money for the MS cause.  Their route started in Olathe and ended in Lawrence where a “Gears and Grooves” festival awaited their arrival.  The rewards were worthwhile, as bikers enjoyed food, musical entertainment, and Boulevard Beer, but most importantly made an impact for the MS cause.

Open PhotoTeam Cutters during the Bike MS Team Cutters during the Bike MS
Open Photo

2 August, 2014 | Awards, Culture, Helix People

Helix Named One of Kansas City’s “Best Companies to Work For” for the 5th Year in a Row!

Ingram’s “Best Companies to Work For” recognizes workplaces of the highest quality in the greater Kansas City area, those whose management practices, educational and advancement opportunities, benefits and spirit of teamwork set them apart from thousands of other companies throughout the region.

This year, we are very proud to know that Helix is receiving this title for the 5th year in a row!  Thank you Ingrams, and thank you Helix for making our work such an enjoyable experience for all!


28 April, 2014 | Culture, Design

Dining By Design

 

“Dining By Design” (DBD) is a Helix favorite because it is a synthesis of two priorities that fall at the top of our list: charitable causes and captivating spaces.  DBD is the signature event for DIFFA chapters nationwide, helping raise millions of dollars for HIV and AIDS education and prevention.    DBD has become very popular in major US cities across the nation, although it was founded right here in the Kansas City Area.

 

This year, a team of Helix designers created a table that took the Pantone color of the year, Radiant Orchid, as inspiration.  The concept of “Nature Reclaiming Design” is executed through the weathered and sophisticated details and highlighted by the “radiance” of the lit candles.

 

We would like to thank Knoll Textiles for their generous fabric donation, the Kansas City community for its support of the DBD event,  and DIFFA for its continued efforts for a noteworthy cause.


Creating a “Better Block”

Last Friday, Helix’s Matt Kleinmann and Carissa Loehr played crucial roles in developing Kansas City’s second ever Better Block KC event. Better Block’s objective is to imagine a ‘complete streets’ vision where temporary design concepts are implemented to highlight the potential viability of a more walkable and sustainable community.

This year’s Better Block focused on introducing the Crossroads neighborhood to a tangible expression of the proposed KC Streetcar. Working with members of such organizations as USGBC, HDR, and KCRTA, Helix sponsored the display of a full-scale streetcar mock-up. The mock-up gave the public a very real experience of how a pedestrian-oriented streetscape can become a catalyst for transit-oriented development.

For more information regarding the concepts addressed in the Better Block model, visit the following link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntwqVDzdqAU

Open PhotoThe chosen site for Kansas City's second annual Better Block demonstration is situated at the corner of 19th and Main Street. The chosen site for Kansas City's second annual Better Block demonstration is situated at the corner of 19th and Main Street.
Open PhotoAfter the Better Block installation, a full-scale KC Streetcar mock-up and kiosks representing corresponding development bring new energy and life to the same location as pictured above. After the Better Block installation, a full-scale KC Streetcar mock-up and kiosks representing corresponding development bring new energy and life to the same location as pictured above.

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